Worldwide annual consumption of asphalt is at more than 100 million tons. In the United States, generally 90% of liquid asphalt cement consumed is used for road paving and approximately 10% is used for roofing products, with other specialty applications accounting for only a very small fraction of consumption.
Though asphalt occurs naturally, the majority of today’s asphalt is produced as a residual product of the crude oil refining process. Most refiners focus on refining more expensive, lighter, “sweeter” crudes to produce the higher-value products such gasoline and diesel fuel. In all, about two to three percent of all refined crude oil in the United States becomes asphalt.
Most crude oil asphalt comes from less expensive, heavier, “sour” crude oils rather than the more expensive lighter, sweet crude oils. For crude oil refiners asphalt accounts for a much larger portion of the product refined.
Demand for asphalt is driven to a small degree by the private sector, but most demand comes from federal, state, and local governments. Funding for highway and road infrastructure construction and maintenance plays the largest role, but other public sector projects such as airport runway and taxiway construction can also affect demand. Since funding for highway and road construction and maintenance projects are often set for several years, demand tends to remain rather constant growing more or less at the rate of inflation. However, the recent prospect of massive infrastructure spending to stimulate growth in the U.S. economy under the new Obama administration suggest demand will likely increase significantly in the coming years.
Specialists in Business Information (SBI) estimates the U.S. market for liquid asphalt cement totaled $11.7 billion in 2008, up 34% from $8.7 billion in 2007. This report explains why, and forecasts what lies ahead for the asphalt industry from 2009 - 2013.
Scope of the Report
This SBI report contains data and analysis describing the U.S. market for asphalt. The report focuses on the primary commodity market, refined liquid asphalt cement, and the secondary product market, asphalt paving mixtures. In addition, limited data and analysis are provided for the asphalt shingle and coating materials manufacturing market (asphalt roofing products). Chapter 3 covers the liquid asphalt cement market while Chapter 4 covers the asphalt paving mixtures and asphalt roofing products market. SBI refers to the asphalt paving and roofing markets as the asphalt products market. Chapter 5 covers the competitive landscape of asphalt refiners and blenders with data and analysis on U.S. asphalt refining capacity and utilization including profiles of major asphalt refiners, blenders, and paving mixture manufacturers. Chapter 6 looks at economic and market trends affecting the asphalt industry. Included are an analysis and forecast through 2009 of gross domestic product (GDP), an in-depth cost and price analysis of various components of the asphalt market as well as the competing concrete market, and a look at the shift to warm mix, eco-challenges and weather/seasonality trends.. Finally, Chapter 7 provides a snapshot of the two end-user markets, asphalt paving and asphalt roofing.